Business People Are Not Interested in IT Strategy

photo credit: Chris Devers via photopin cc

photo credit: Chris Devers via photopin cc

That is an intense headline but it is true. So why you might ask am I wasting my time blogging about IT strategy if no one is interested!?  Because of course they are interested, indirectly.  The article The best IT strategy is no IT strategy makes the point eloquently.

Business people want business strategy – any IT strategy must therefore be set in the context of the overall objectives for the organisation; ignore the headline business requirements at your peril. There is no point writing lots of detail about technical solutions and the wonderful next best technical thing if that is not going to contribute to the bottom line of the business. The CEO needs solutions to help him beat the competition, push up profit and deliver a higher return.  Even cost is often secondary to driving up revenue.

When setting your strategy and especially when pitching it to the board it is essential to couch the solutions offered in the context of the overall objectives for the business.  Subjects like “Increased cross selling”, “faster time to market” as high level business objectives may at first glance seem to have little to do with technical choices. However, with good analysis, putting the solution choices against these business objectives will allow the organisation to make choices that align to what they want to happen in the wider context. I have a saying “go after the money” when referring to any strategic decisions.  The money comes from the business so your technical strategy must convince them it generates and saves hard money.  So I leave you with two thoughts on getting your strategy financed:

- Measure all your strategic options against the business objectives, if they don’t match wider objectives you wont get the money

- Pitch with a full cost benefit in place. If you don’t know what the downside is in terms of hard cash you will also fail to get financed.

The bottom line is that business people are not interested in IT strategy unless you make your IT strategy a business strategy.

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